Kaliningrad Oblast Explained

En Name:Kaliningrad Oblast
Ru Name:Калининградская область
Latd:54
Latm:48
Longd:21
Longm:25
Coa Caption:Coat of arms
Flag Caption:Flag
Anthem:Anthem of Kaliningrad Oblast
Political Status:Oblast
Political Status Link:Oblasts of Russia
Federal District:Northwestern
Economic Region:Kaliningrad
Adm Ctr Type:Administrative center
Adm Ctr Name:Kaliningrad
Adm Ctr Ref:[1]
Pop 2010Census:941873
Pop 2010Census Rank:56th
Urban Pop 2010Census:77.6%
Rural Pop 2010Census:22.4%
Area Km2:15100
Area Km2 Rank:76th
Established Date:April 7, 1946
Established Date Ref:[2]
Prev Name1:Kyonigsberg Oblast
Prev Name1 Date:July 4, 1946
License Plates:39
Iso:RU-KGD
Gov As Of:March 2011
Leader Title:Governor
Leader Title Ref:[3]
Leader Name:Nikolay Tsukanov
Leader Name Ref:[4]
Legislature:Oblast Duma
Website:http://gov39.ru
Date:August 2010

Kaliningrad Oblast (Russian: Калинингра́дская о́бласть, Kaliningradskaya oblast) is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast) situated on the Baltic coast. It has a population of 941,873 (2010 Census).

The oblast forms the westernmost part of Russia, but it has no land connection to the rest of the country. Since its creation it has been an exclave of the Russian SFSR and then of the Russian Federation. The fall of the Soviet Union left it isolated from the 'mainland'. It is surrounded by Lithuania, Poland, and the Baltic Sea. Borderless travel to the main part of Russia is only possible by sea or air. This political isolation became more pronounced when Lithuania and Poland both became members of the European Union and NATO, and entered the Schengen Zone, which means that the oblast is surrounded by the territories of these organizations as well.

The oblast's largest city and the administrative center is Kaliningrad (formerly known as Königsberg), which has historical significance as both a major city of the historical state of Prussia and the capital of the former German province of East Prussia, partitioned after World War II between the USSR and Poland, and renamed after the Soviet Head of State Mikhail Kalinin.

The territory of the Kaliningrad Oblast coincides with that of the northern part of historical East Prussia (German: Nord-Ostpreussen), which was an exclave of Germany from World War I until 1945. In that year, it was occupied by the Soviet Union and annexed according to the Potsdam Agreement. It was attached to the Russian SFSR. Most of its German population had fled to the "mainland" of Germany during the war; the rest were expelled from 1945 to 1950. Russian settlers moved in, and the population has been Russian ever since.

Currently it is one of Russia's best performing regional economies, bolstered by a low manufacturing tax rate, as set by its 'Special Economic Zone' [SEZ] status, given by Moscow. As of 2006, one in three televisions in Russia are made in Kaliningrad, and its population is one of the few in Russia which are expected to show strong growth.[5]

Geography

Kaliningrad Oblast is an exclave of Russia surrounded by Lithuania, Poland, and the Baltic Sea. The biggest river is the Pregolya (Russian: Преголя; German: Pregel; Lithuanian: Prieglius). It starts as a confluence of the Instruch and the Angrapa and drains into the Baltic Sea through Vistula Lagoon. Its length under the name of Pregolya is 123 km (76 mi), 292 km (181 mi), including the Angrapa.

Notable geographical features include:

Politics

See main article: Politics of Kaliningrad Oblast.

The current governor (since 2010) of Kaliningrad Oblast is Nikolay Tsukanov, who succeeded Georgy Boos. The election for the fifth term of the Kaliningrad Oblast Duma was held on 13 March 2011.

History

East Prussia

See main article: East Prussia.

The region of what is now Kaliningrad Oblast was inhabited during the Middle Ages by tribes of Old Prussians in the western part and Lithuanians in the eastern part by the Pregolya and Alna Rivers. The Teutonic Knights conquered the region and established a monastic state. On the foundations of a destroyed Prussian settlement known as Tvanksta, the Order founded the major city of Königsberg (modern Kaliningrad). Germans and Poles resettled the territory and assimilated the indigenous Old Prussians. The Lithuanian-inhabited areas became known as Lithuania Minor. In 1525, Grand Master Albert of Brandenburg secularized the Prussian branch of the Teutonic Order and established himself as the sovereign of the Duchy of Prussia, the Polish fief, later inherited by the Margravate of Brandenburg. The region was reorganized into the Province of East Prussia within the Kingdom of Prussia in 1773.

East Prussia was an important center of German culture. Many important figures, such as Immanuel Kant and E. T. A. Hoffmann, have their origins in this region. The cities of Kaliningrad Oblast, despite being heavily damaged during World War II and thereafter, still contain some typical German architecture, such as the Jugendstil, showcasing the rich German history and cultural importance of the area. The Lithuanian-speaking community in East Prussia was diminished due to organic Germanization and cultural assimilation; in the early 20th century Lithuanian still made up a majority only in rural parts of the far northeast corner of East Prussia (Memelland and Minor Lithuania), the rest of the area (with exception of the Slavic Masurians in southern East Prussia), being overwhelmingly German-speaking. However, in 1918 Prussians who spoke German joined Lithuanian speaking Prussians and claimed that whole Prussia should join with Lithuania because the majority of inhabitants of this land were of Lithuanian-Prussian ethnic descent. In November 1918 they signed the declaration of independence from Germany and unification with motherland Lithuania.

The Memel Territory (Klaipėda region), formerly part of northeastern East Prussia, was annexed by Lithuania in 1923 after World War I. In 1938, Nazi Germany radically altered about a third of the place names of this area by replacing names of Old Prussian or Lithuanian origin with newly invented German names.

Kaliningrad Oblast

During World War II, Soviet troops reached the border of East Prussia on August 29, 1944. In January 1945, Soviet forces overran all of East Prussia except the area around Königsberg. Many Germans fled west at this time. During the last days of the war, over two million Germans were evacuated by sea. The remaining German population was deported after the war, and the area was repopulated primarily by Russians and, to a lesser extent, Ukrainians and Belarusians.

The Potsdam Agreement among the Allied powers assigned northern East Prussia to the Soviet Union, pending the final determination of territorial questions at the peace settlement:

VI. CITY OF KOENIGSBERG AND THE ADJACENT AREA
The Conference examined a proposal by the Soviet Government that pending the final determination of territorial questions at the peace settlement the section of the western frontier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics which is adjacent to the Baltic Sea should pass from a point on the eastern shore of the Bay of Gdansk to the east, north of Braunsberg and Goldap, to the meeting point of the frontiers of Lithuania, the Polish Republic and East Prussia.

The Conference has agreed in principle to the proposal of the Soviet Government concerning the ultimate transfer to the Soviet Union of the city of Koenigsberg and the area adjacent to it as described above, subject to expert examination of the actual frontier.

The President of the United States and the British Prime Minister have declared that they will support the proposal of the Conference at the forthcoming peace settlement.[6]

In 1957, an agreement was signed and later came into force which delimited the boundary between Poland and the Soviet Union,[7] [8]

According to some accounts from the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet government had planned to make the rest of the area a part of the Lithuanian SSR immediately after World War II. The area was administered by the planning committee of the LSSR, although the area had its own Communist Party committee. However, the leadership of the Lithuanian SSR (especially Antanas Sniečkus) refused to take the territory, mainly because of its devastation during the war. Some modern nationalistic Lithuanian authors say that the reason for the refusal was the Lithuanians' concern to find themselves on equal demographic terms with the Russian population within the Lithuanian SSR. Instead the region was added as an exclave to the Russian SFSR, and since 1946 it has been known as Kaliningrad Oblast. According to some historians, Joseph Stalin created it as an oblast separate from the LSSR because it further enclosed the Baltic states from the West.[9] Names of the cities, towns, rivers, and other geographical objects were changed into newly-created Russian ones.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the independence of the Baltic states caused Kaliningrad Oblast to be separated from the rest of Russia by other countries instead of other Soviet republics. Some ethnic Germans began to return to the area, such as Volga Germans from other parts of Russia and Kazakhstan, especially after Germany stopped granting free right of return to ethnic Germans from the former Soviet Union. The economic situation has been badly affected by the geographic isolation (and the significant reduction in the size of the Russian military garrison which had previously been one of the major employers), especially when neighboring nations imposed strict border controls when they joined the European Union. Russian proposals for visa-free travel between the EU and Kaliningrad have so far been rejected by the EU. Travel arrangements based on the Facilitated Transit Document (FTD) and Facilitated Rail Transit Document (FRTD) have been made.[10] [11]

In recent times, the situation has begun to change, if slowly. Germany and Lithuania have renewed contact with Kaliningrad Oblast through town twinning and other projects. This has helped to promote interest in the history and the culture of the East Prussian and Lietuvininkai communities.

Military

For some years after the fall of the Soviet Union, Kaliningrad Oblast was one of the most militarized areas of the Russian Federation, and the density of military installations was the highest in Europe, as much of the Soviet equipment pulled out of Eastern Europe was left there. As of 2009, there are 11,600 Russian ground troops based in the oblast, plus additional naval and air force personnel.[12] Thus military troops amount to less than 2% of the oblast's population. Kaliningrad is a headquarters of Russian Baltic Fleet circled by Chernyakhovsk (air base), Donskoye (air base), and Kaliningrad Chkalovsk (naval air base).

The Washington Times claimed on January 3, 2001, citing anonymous intelligence reports, that Russia had transferred tactical nuclear weapons into a military base in Kaliningrad for the first time since the Cold War ended. Russian top-level military leaders denied those claims.[13] A Pentagon spokesperson stated that deployment would violate Russian pledge that Russia was removing nuclear weapons from the Baltics. Russia and the United States announced in 1991 and 1992 a non-binding agreement to reduce arsenals of tactical nuclear weapons. On the eve of the reunification of Germany, Helmut Kohl promised Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO's military infrastructures would not move eastward into the territory of East Germany, a fact since confirmed by the former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock. Later Russia was privately assured that Eastern European states would not seek membership in NATO.[14] Today, while NATO has not established any military infrastructure in Eastern Germany yet, both Central European and Baltic countries are NATO members.

On November 5, 2008, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev said that Russia would deploy Iskander missiles in the oblast as a response to U.S. plans for basing missile defense missiles in Poland.[15] Equipment to electronically hamper the operation of future U.S. missile facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic also would be deployed, he said.

However, on January 28, 2009, a Russian defense official stated that the deployment of short-range missiles into Kaliningrad Oblast would cease due to perceived changes in the attitude of the United States government towards the Russian Federation following the election of United States President Barack Obama.[16] In September 2009, Russia fully scrapped plans of sending short-range missiles into the Kaliningrad Oblast in response to President Obama's decision to cancel the missile defense system. In November 2011, Dmitry Medvedev issued another stern warning that Russia will deploy new missiles aimed at U.S. missile defense sites in Europe if Washington goes ahead with the planned shield.[17]

Administrative divisions

See main article: Administrative divisions of Kaliningrad Oblast and List of inhabited localities in Kaliningrad Oblast.

Demographics

Population

According to the 2010 Census, the oblast population is 941,873; down from 955,281 recorded in the 2002 Census. The 1989 Census recorded 871,283 inhabitants.

Kaliningrad Oblast is the fourth most densely populated federal subject in Russia, with 62.5 persons/km2 (162 persons/sq mi).

Almost none of the pre–World War II Lithuanian population (Lietuvininks) or German population remain in Kaliningrad Oblast.

Ethnic groups

According to the 2010 Census, the ethnic composition of the oblast was as follows:

Economy

Kaliningrad Oblast's economy is positively influenced by several factors, such as ice-free ports, the world's largest amber deposits and proximity to European countries. The region also has a developed tourist infrastructure, unique museums and monuments, and tourist attractions such as the famous Curonian Spit.[19]

In order to combat the oblast's economic problems such as high unemployment, in 1996 the Russian authorities granted Kaliningrad special economic status and tax advantages intended to attract investors. The oblast's economy has since benefited substantially, and in recent years experienced a boom. A US$45 million airport terminal has been opened, and the European Commission provides funds for business projects under its special program for the region. The oblast has begun to see increasing trade with the countries of the EU as well as increasing economic growth and rising industrial output.[20]

According to official statistics, the Gross Regional Product in 2006 was 115 billion roubles.[21] GRP per capita in 2007 was 155,668.9 rubles.[22]

Industry

The oblast has transport (railcars) and heavy equipment (crane) plants. Car and truck assembly (GM, BMW, Kia, Yuejin), and production of auto parts are growing industries. There are shipbuilding facilities in Kaliningrad and Sovetsk. Food processing is a mature industry in the region. OKB Fakel, a world leader in the field of Hall thruster development and a leading Russian developer and manufacturer of electric propulsion systems, is based in Neman. The company employs 960 people.[23] [24]

Natural resources

Kaliningrad Oblast possesses more than 90% of the world's amber deposits.[25] Most of the mined amber is processed outside of the region, in Russia and in other countries.

There are small oil reservoirs beneath the Baltic Sea not far from Kaliningrad's shore. Small-scale offshore exploration started in 2004 and some Baltic countries (Poland and Lithuania), as well as local NGOs voiced concerns regarding possible environmental impact.

Fishing

Fishing is one of the important regional industries, with big fishing ports in Kaliningrad and Pionersky (formerly Neukuhren) and lesser ones in Svetly and Rybachy.

Power generation

Average yearly power consumption in the Kaliningrad Oblast was 3.5Bn kWh in 2004 with local power generation providing just 235M kWh. The balance of energy needs required was imported from neighbouring countries. A new Kaliningrad power station was built in 2005, covering 50% of the oblast's energy needs. A second power station was scheduled to enter service in 2010, making the oblast independent from electricity imports. There are plans to build two nuclear power reactors in the eastern part of the region.

References

See also

External links

Notes and References

  1. http://www.russia-channel.com/kaliningrad-oblast/
  2. http://www.gako.name/index.php?razd=196 Из истории создания Калининградской области, её административно-территориального устройства
  3. Charter, Article 3
  4. Official website of the Government of Kaliningrad Oblast. Biography of Nikolay Nikolayevich Tsukanov
  5. News: Kaliningrad erases stains of past. BBC News. 2006-10-16. 2010-05-07. Laura. Sheeter.
  6. http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/policy/1945/450802a.html
  7. http://www.un.org/Depts/los/LEGISLATIONANDTREATIES/PDFFILES/TREATIES/RUS-POL1957SF.PDF
  8. http://www.un.org/Depts/los/LEGISLATIONANDTREATIES/STATEFILES/POL.htm
  9. Book: Weinberg, Gerhard L.. Visions of Victory: The hopes of eight World War II leaders. 2005. Cambridge University Press. 9780521852548. 114.
  10. http://www.euro.lt/en/lithuanias-membership-in-the-eu/transit-from-to-kaliningrad-region/ Transit from/to Kaliningrad Region, www.euro.lt
  11. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2003:099:0008:0008:EN:PDF Council Regulation (EC) No 693/2003, eur-lex.europa.eu
  12. http://www.iiss.org/publications/military-balance/ Military Balance 2009
  13. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=WT&p_theme=wt&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_text_search-0=Russia%20AND%20Transfers%20AND%20Nuclear%20AND%20Arms%20AND%20to%20AND%20Baltics&s_dispstring=Russia%20Transfers%20Nuclear%20Arms%20to%20Baltics%20AND%20date(01/01/2001%20to%2001/01/2002)&p_field_date-0=YMD_date&p_params_date-0=date:B,E&p_text_date-0=01/01/2001%20to%2001/01/2002)&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_useweights=no Bill Gertz, "Russia Transfers Nuclear Arms to Baltics," Washington Times, 3 January 2001, p. 1.
  14. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Don't+isolate+us:+a+Russian+view+of+NATO+expansion.-a019326117 Don't isolate us: a Russian view of NATO expansion
  15. News: Russia to move missiles to Baltic. yes. bbc.co.uk. BBC. 2008-11-05. 12 November 2008.
  16. News: Russia 'halts missile deployment'. yes. bbc.co.uk. BBC. 2009-01-28. 2009-01-28.
  17. News: Dmitry Medvedev, Russia President, Says Missiles May Target U.S. Missile Defense Sites. Huffington Post. 2011-11-23.
  18. http://www.perepis-2010.ru/news/detail.php?ID=6936
  19. Book: Russia: All Regions Trade & Investment Guide. CTEC Publishing LLC. 2008. Kaliningrad Region - Introduction.
  20. News: Regions and territories: Kaliningrad. 2009-05-15. BBC News. 2009-06-05.
  21. http://www.gov.kaliningrad.ru/zip/itogsocecrazn2006.zip Regional administration's website (Russian)
  22. http://www.gks.ru/bgd/free/b01_19/IssWWW.exe/Stg/d000/dusha98-07.htm Валовой региональный продукт на душу населения
  23. Web site: EDB Fakel. OKB Fakel. 2009-06-04.
  24. Web site: OKB Fakel (Russian Federation). 2008-12-17. Jane's Space Systems and Industry. 2009-06-04.
  25. http://science.enotes.com/how-products-encyclopedia/amber How Products Are Made: Amber